Misa has fired its Lesotho national director, Thomas Mapesela, for abusing his office, writes Mzimkhulu Sithetho.

The organisation’s regional office sent a fact-finding mission to the country to investigate conflicts in Lesotho, and afterwards regional director Kaitira Kandji wrote a letter to say Mapesela’s contract was being terminated immediately. 

The letter says that he openly sided with one group in the organization, organised meetings against the wishes of the executive’s office advice and hardly came to the office.
It further accuses him of allowing members of an interim committee to have rights to Misa accounts without the permission of the national governing council (NGC) or the regional secretariat. “This act regarded as serious offence,” the letter says.

The letter from Windhoek, Namibia, also recommends that membership criteria for Misa Lesotho should be reviewed to comply with regional standards. 

Currently, membership is open to anybody who has shown interest in media issues, and the organization has come to be dominated by people who are not journalists but by workers in civil society organizations.

The deputy principal secretary in the communications ministry, Thabiso Makintane, has long complained about the criteria for membership.

“You cannot be a member of the Law Society of Lesotho if you do not hold law credentials. You cannot become a member of the Accountants Association nor be a member of Doctors Association, even if you had interest in their affairs,” he has said.

Misa’s Lesotho chapter has suffered from internal conflict for some time.

Attempts to get a comment from the fired director were not successful.